Peugeot to Race Hybrids at 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans
It seems as if Formula One won’t be the only race series running hybrid cars. Come 2011, Peugeot plans on racing a hybrid electric vehicle in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The French manufacturer signaled its interest in such a program in 2008, when it displayed the conceptual 908 HY HDi at a number of international auto shows. Albeit technically a show car, the 908 HY was little more than Peugeot’s successful diesel-powered LMP1 car fitted with a parallel hybrid system.
A 60-kW (80 hp) electric motor replaced the starter on the 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged diesel V-12, and was powered by lithium-ion battery packs squeezed into the racer. Like F1’s KERS, Peugeot’s system aimed to capture energy normally lost in braking, convert it to electricity, and deploy it via the electric motor for an added boost.
Peugeot seemed quite proud of the 908 HY HDi at the 2008 Paris motor show, but wouldn’t commit to actually fielding a hybrid at Le Mans. Company officials have since stated that a hybrid Peugeot is destined for the LMP1 class.
It won’t, however, be based upon the 908 HDi. According to Racecar Engineering, the Peugeot Sport division has already scrapped development of the 908 in favor of working on the next-generation car, the 909 HDi. Expect this car to bring the hybrid system to Le Mans in two years time.
However, that timing creates a large unknown for the 2010 season. Peugeot won’t have its new car ready in time, so it may simply run the 908 HDI as a stopgap measure.